International Dairy Foods Association launches Women in Dairy Network

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) is pleased today to launch the Women in Dairy Network to support a stronger, more diverse future for U.S. dairy.

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Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) is pleased today to launch the Women in Dairy Network to support a stronger, more diverse future for U.S. dairy.

Since IDFA was established 30 years ago to harness the collective voice of the dairy industry, the association has developed and supported many initiatives to build knowledge, expertise, and cultivate leadership across the industry. The Women in Dairy Network continues and builds on that tradition by expanding the presence and influence of women across the dairy industry.

The Women in Dairy Network brings together established leaders with young professionals to create a forum that fosters mentoring, supports development, builds networking opportunities, and encourages leadership.

The Women in Dairy Network will support the future of the industry in four important ways:

  1. Provide a venue for women to support each other as they advance or start their careers in dairy;
  2. Connect established leaders with up-and-coming professionals;
  3. Offer a platform for women to discuss unique or similar challenges, and to work together to create shared strategies for advancing their careers; and
  4. Bring together women in all sorts of venues, from virtual to in-person, to learn, mentor and share best practices. 

The concept for the Women in Dairy Network began at Dairy Forum 2019—the dairy industry’s premier event for sharing knowledge, analyzing trends, and networking—during a discussion spearheaded by Cary Frye, IDFA’s senior vice president of regulatory affairs. Since that time, dozens of leaders and passionate professionals from across the dairy industry have offered their support for the Network, including their time and expertise. The Women in Dairy Network will mark its formal launch at Dairy Forum 2020 in Scottsdale, Arizona, happening Jan. 26-29, with a series of sessions and special events for the Women in Dairy Network Advisory Council and others interested in joining.

“IDFA is proud to launch the Women in Dairy Network to build a stronger, more resilient and more diverse dairy industry for the future,” says Tracy Boyle, director of employee relations and administrative services at IDFA and coordinator for the Network. “The Network will empower, encourage and support women in the dairy industry through leadership development, mentoring and networking events.”

“As the one organization committed to advocating to ensure America’s dairy companies and people have the tools and resources they need to innovate and grow, IDFA is so pleased to offer the Women in Dairy Network as a platform to move our industry forward in a collaborative way,” says Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of IDFA.

The Network will be guided by an Advisory Council of industry leaders from IDFA member companies and partners. They are:

  • Patty Andersen, vice president of human resources & training, Delkor Systems Inc.
  • Courtney Bidney, director, global scientific & regulatory affairs, Yoplait-USA
  • Abigail Blunt, global head of government affairs, The Kraft Heinz Company
  • Lynne Bohan, vice president, public Relations and government affairs, HP Hood LLC
  • Miriam Erickson Brown, chair & chief executive officer, Anderson Erickson Dairy Company
  • Mirjana Curic-Bawden, principal scientist, Chr. Hansen Inc.
  • Luconda Dager, president, Velvet Ice Cream Company
  • Crystal Dohner, vice president of growth and innovation, Crystal Creamery
  • Heather Draper, director, The Ice Cream Club Inc.
  • Rita Dagdelen-Keskinyan, managing director, head of consumer group, Oppenheimer & Co. Inc.
  • Betsy Erdelyi, managing director, BMO Harris Bank
  • Ann Gent, senior vice president & general manager of food & beverage, N.A. Ecolab
  • Julie Kanak, managing director-agribusiness and food practice leader, Diversified Search LLC
  • Niamh Kelly, senior vice president, Glanbia Nutritionals
  • Rachel Kyllo, senior vice president, innovation & growth, Kemps LLC
  • Mary Ledman, global strategist, Rabobank – Chicago
  • Karen Olks, director of western region and wine & fermented beverages, Chr. Hansen, Inc.
  • Autumn Price, vice president, government relations, Land O’Lakes Inc.
  • Elizabeth Riordan, divisional vice president, Global Operations Dairy Abbott
  • Shelley Roth, president, Pierre’s Ice Cream Company
  • Erin Sharp, group vice president, manufacturing, The Kroger Co.
  • Patricia Stroup, global vice president and head of commodities, Nestle S.A.
  • Sue Taylor,vice president – dairy economics policy, Leprino Foods Company
  • Amy Vodraska, associate publisher, Dairy Foods Magazine
  • Tristan Zuber- Hrobuchak, sales account manager – culture & enzymes, Chr. Hansen, Inc.